How a power outage led to the Coast Guard Academy's cloud migration

Thursday - 1/12/2012, 5:21pm EST

Jason Warren, branch chief of hardware and software systems, Coast Guard Academy

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It all began with a power outage.

When the U.S. Coast Guard Academy suffered a week-long power outage due to a blown electrical transformer, it got a strong push to the cloud. One hundred members of the academy's cloud email pilot project were the only people on campus with unfettered access to email.

That's how Coast Guard Academy officials described the beginning of their shift to Google Apps in a post for AOL Government this week.

Lt. Jason Warren, the branch chief of hardware and software systems at the Coast Guard Academy, joined In Depth with Francis Rose to discuss the transition.

Warren, who cited the need for cost-cutting, as a main driver of the cloud migration, said the pilot project ran for about two months.

"The positive impact from cadets was just overwhelming," he said.

So, the Coast Guard Academy's IT officials started the transition in January 2011. "We decided that ... it was time to start moving them to the cloud and get them off of the previous system that we had them on that was very cumbersome, very difficult to manage and, quite frankly, and it was just a sea of dissatisfaction from the cadets," Warren said.

And the cost wasn't onerous, either, he added.

Because the academy is an educational institution, the cost to run Google Apps for up to 2,000 users is actually free, Warren explained.

As for security, Warren said he met with Google officials to review their "very extensive" Federal Information Security Act (FISMA) certification. "And I was very impressed," he added. "I think that Google has a lot of dedicated resources, a lot of money and a lot of smart people and they did a great job with a lot of their security and accreditation paperwork."

RELATED LINK:

Coast Guard Academy Tacks To The Cloud For Email Services(From AOLGov)